Finding joy in a world of comparison and self-doubt

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Joy

Let’s Define it:

Dictionary.com –

  • a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

Merriam-Webster –

  • the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight

  • the expression or exhibition of such emotion: gaiety

  • a state of happiness or felicity: bliss

  • a source or cause of delight

I don’t know about you but I can focus so much on working, getting more and doing more, that I tend to forget to just sit and appreciate my life and what I have. I don’t have joy. We can get so caught up in comparing ourselves to others that our joy can be tampered down by thoughts of self-doubt and unworthiness. Feeling like we will never measure up.

If I were honest, finding joy is difficult for me. I define myself by my followers on Instagram, beautiful photos and how many sales I make. I define myself by my looks rather than by my personality and my ultimate definition of who I am is who others say that I am.

I am not saying that it is healthy or good, so please don’t hear that. In fact I know that it is neither of those things. But this is my reality; at least for now.

For me, not having joy leads to unhappiness and despair. I end up walking through life wondering if I am good enough, smart enough pretty enough and ultimately, I never feel any of those things, which makes me feel worse about myself.

If I were a therapist looking in at my life, I would tell myself this: “By comparing yourself to other people, you are just lying to yourself and where you are right now, whether it is on the top of a mountain peak or in the pit of a valley, will shape you and define who you are.”

Working to find joy is hard. But once you have it, no one can take it from you. Joy is not fleeting and cannot be altered by external stimuli.

Joy comes when you make peace with who you are, why you are and how you are.

 As I actively look to find joy in my life, here are some ideas to help me get there. Maybe they will help you too.

40 Ways to Find Joy

  1. Play with kids.

  2. Play like a kid.

  3. Learn something new (play a new sport or game, learn how to cook a new dish).

  4. Get out in nature.

  5. Help someone in a small way (by carrying their groceries or paying their toll on the highway).

  6. Count your blessings.

  7. Spend time with your pet.

  8. Travel.

  9. Nurture romance (spend time just kissing your partner, buy a surprise gift, write a love letter).

  10. Dress up in costume for no reason.

  11. Lose yourself in a great book.

  12. Laugh and smile, no matter how you’re feeling.

  13. Sing out loud.

  14. Connect authentically with friends and family, sharing your vulnerabilities.

  15. Dance. If you can’t dance, just skip.

  16. Pay a compliment to a total stranger.

  17. Listen to uplifting music.

  18. Serve others. Volunteer.

  19. Exercise.

  20. Set a goal, then reach it (run that marathon, pass that test, lose those five pounds).

  21. Meditate and enjoy the silence.

  22. Write a thank you letter or Facebook post to someone for no particular reason other than just to say “I appreciate you.”

  23. Get messy (go barefoot, play in the mud).

  24. Prepare and slowly eat a healthy meal.

  25. Offer to teach someone a new skill.

  26. Memorize a poem.

  27. Turn your errands into an adventure (by making a game out of finding certain items at the store or spotting yellow cars while driving there).

  28. Take a nap.

  29. Ask someone for help (and express appreciation for their guidance).

  30. Watch a favorite old movie for the hundredth time.

  31. Discover a new smell (in the form of a candle, flower, or massage oil).

  32. Snuggle.

  33. Get rid of stuff. (Take it to a homeless shelter. Lighten your load and make someone else’s life better at the same time.)

  34. Watch a sunrise or sunset.

  35. Make a commitment to change a bad habit, then do it.

  36. Create something.

  37. Eat a cupcake.

  38. Spend an evening by candlelight.

  39. Take a walk in the rain.

  40. Surrender (give it up to God or a higher power)

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